27 August 2008

Question for Fellow Photographers and/or Experienced Mothers

I have to make a choice.

When we travel to the US for the birth of our Maybe Baby, and subsequently travel back, we will have limited luggage space. This will be especially true on the return trip when we will have all kinds of baby-related accoutrements that seem to follow new parents everywhere.

So here's the question:

Do I bring my Nikon D70 or the much smaller Sony DSC T70?

The Sony would be more sensible. It's small and easily fits into my pocket or purse. With 8 megapixels, it takes extremely high quality photographs that can easily be enlarged to an 8 x 10 suitable for framing. It also has pretty good video & audio capabilities. Plus, I suspect that with a newborn, a quick point and shoot is likely all I will have the time & energy to do.

On the other hand, the Nikon is my preferred camera for doing portraits. Given the nature of the trip, I imagine I will be doing far more people pictures than travel, landscape or anything else. But it's biggest drawback is that it travels in its own camera bag, weighs quite a bit more than the Sony and would have to count as one of my carry-ons because I would never feel comfortable checking it.

What do you think?


Lynda said...

When I upgraded my camera last year I was tempted to go for the 'big gun', but am really happy that I chose my compact Canon - I take masses of pics, have it with me all the time to whip out and snap away - it is inconspicuous. Mine has a portrait setting that is very good... not sure I would ever go back to the big heft bag camera again.

swissmiss said...

Get a different bag. I have a camera back-pack made by Tatonka (I think it's called the camera/video runner)- the bottom part of the bag is a camera bag; it fits my Nikon D-80 and three lenses and then the top of the back-pack remains empty for other stuff. And don't forget if Maybe Baby has a ticket on the return flight, Maybe Baby gets a carry on bag too!

Take the camera you want, inconvenience be damned. You only get to take those pictures once.

Susie Vereker said...

I'm not a great photographer but I reckon a small camera is best. You won't want to worry about looking after the Nikon on the return flight. You'll want to give all your attention to Maybe Baby, who'll need a lot of carry-on baggage anyway.
You will have plenty of time to use the Nikon for endless portraits when you are back in Switzerland!

Angela said...

How fast is the small camera? With pets and children, an SLR is sometimes better at getting a non-motion-blurred picture, or getting the picture when the subject is still looking at you (less shutter lag).

GL'sD said...

As Miss Gemma would say, bring the point and shoot, Dah!!!!

Marcy said...

I'm going to differ here.

We got a Canon 30D a few months before Donovan's birth. It was something we'd kinda been thinking about, and knowing I would soon be taking lots and lots of pictures of a baby made me really want one. I had a Canon Powershot SD600 which I loved, great camera, but I already could tell that I would have a very hard time taking pictures of a baby with it. I could never get non-blurry shots of my cat indoors without using flash, and I used that as a gauge to guess that I probably would have a hard time getting good, clear shots of a baby without flash (I hate flash, avoid it whenever I can, and I especially didn't want to be flashing right in a newborn's face) unless I stuck him in direct sunlight. And our house is actually pretty bright, just for some reason not quite bright enough for even a pretty good point-and-shoot.

If you look at the pictures I have taken of D using my slr vs my p&s, it's a pretty stark difference.

While I'm at it, unless you already own it, I would highly recommend buying a 50mm lens (either the 1.8 or 1.4, I have the former and love it but many people I know prefer the 1.4, better quality but also 3x the price... the 1.8 is only about $100). You could buy it while in the US, and it's such a small and light lens that it doesn't take up much space. You could travel to the US just with the camera body and then bring back the small lens with you-- this also means you may be able to fit it in another or a smaller bag. For any shots that the fixed lens doesn't work for (it can be a bit limiting if you're wanting to take pictures of more than 1 person while indoors, b/c of the fixed focal length) you could use your small camera, but the 50mm lens will take AMAZING pictures of your baby. I promise. It's pretty much the only lens I use with Donovan.

So that's my 2cents, as a mom who's become addicted to taking pictures of her baby. My guess is you'll get much much nicer shots of your newborn (and of people holding him) with your Nikon and the 50mm lens than with your p&s camera.

Global Librarian said...

Thank you for everyone's comments.

And I have to say this:

Marcy, you are a GENIUS! I don't know why I didn't think of that!

What I have spent the most amount of time developing, and the photographs I am the most proud of, are my portraits. And when I do portraits, I always use set my zoom lens at 50 mm. I don't care for portraits on my point and shoot because the 35 mm lens distorts the face too much.

I have already checked the Nikon website and have printed off a list of 8 camera stores that are authorized to carry the Nikon 50 mm lens (either 1.4 or 1.8) in San Antonio. I'll call ahead before we go to make certain one of the stores will have both lenses in stock and then test which one I like best at the store.

Going with just the body and then purchasing a small lens while I am there will take away the excess bulk & weight and eliminate the need for a separate camera bag.

And I can also bring the point and shoot for the casual pics and the video.

Woo hoo!!!

Expat Traveler said...

50mm is a great lens. I love the 16-85mm VR lens it does it all. I guess you are bringing both which is probably what I would do as I did do that on my last trip to switzerland.. And the fast shots are much better with the D70..

Marcy said...

lol Yay! Glad I could help. =)

Rob said...

You've decided already, but here are my zwei rappen - sorry, two cents...

Your Sony has a wide-angle lens and is not ideal for portraits (distortion) apart from that - the time lag on the shutter, which is typical for compact cameras, does not allow you to capture a speific split second - the shutter on an SLR releases instantaniously.

50mm to 110mm are ideal for taking portraits, but you already know that.

Now all you need is a decent hiking rucksack/camera-bag combination which various companies (Lowa, Tamrac, Tenba, etc.) produce